While there have been a couple of festivals in Fredericton that have had to call it quits this year, a new, local one is preparing for its second year. Between April 21 and 24, Flourish Festival will once again be celebrating spring and the end of semester with a weekend of music, film and visual art.
“Last year we threw it together in a month,” said Jane Blanchard, a third year student at Renaissance College who started the event. “This year, obviously, we had more time.”
Flourish Festival began as something meant to showcase the various artistic talents in Fredericton, but this year it has expanded to include artists from different parts of the country.
“One of the reasons that Flourish started in the first place was that we wanted to promote interconnectivity between cities in Canada,” explained Blanchard. If a band from Fredericton, for example, wants to go on a tour, the hope is that they will have the connections to be able to make that happen.
Though last year saw both passes and tickets sold out, Flourish is still looking to set itself apart from other festivals, both locally and on a larger scale.
“For a lot of music festivals – even if they are interdisciplinary – a lot of the time the focus is on the music and everything else is kind of extra.” This year there was a conscious effort to put more of an emphasis on other types of art.
“We thought it was important to show film and visual artists as being of equal importance,” said Blanchard.
As Blanchard and her organizing partner, Stefan Westner, thought about the direction of Flourish, they were also faced with the question of how to pay for it all.
“It’s great to get grants but there is also something cool about being self sufficient and sustainable without the help of the government,” said Blanchard. Given the recent news regarding artsnb, Blanchard is even happier with their decision.
“I think having a grass roots approach is the way of the future, especially for music festivals,” she said. Accordingly, support from local shops, breweries and bars have made it possible for the festival to once again run solely on ticket sales and without any funding.
Along with the festival itself, 2016 has also marked the beginning of an artist-in-residence program put on by Flourish. So far, artists from Nova Scotia and Ontario have come to stay in Fredericton for one month, where they are integrated into the arts community. During this time the artist also creates a project that is then shown or performed at the end of their stay.
For Blanchard, Flourish provides an opportunity for the entire community to get involved in the arts scene.
“I think Flourish is a really good way for people who don’t generally go to events or some of the venues to get out and feel a part of the arts culture,” she said.
Handmade tickets and passes for the festival are supposed to go on sale at the beginning of March. For the festival lineup and more information, you can check out Flourishfest.weebly.com.